A Complete Overview of the US Citizenship Oath Ceremony
Becoming a US citizen is a big milestone and the final step of the process is the US Citizenship Oath Ceremony. This special event marks the end of a journey that can range from a few months to many years. Each ceremony is unique and special to those who attend and experience it or have loved ones in attendance, such as family and friends.
At the ceremony, individuals who have successfully passed all previous stages will take part in several activities to officially become American citizens. These activities include taking an oath of citizenship, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, signing a certificate of citizenship, and receiving congratulations from an official government representative.
The US Citizenship Oath Ceremony
The United States Citizenship Oath Ceremony is a solemn occasion that marks the official grant of U.S. citizenship to non-citizens and the completion of their journey toward full naturalization. This oath symbolizes an individual’s commitment to the laws and values of the United States of America, as well as their rights and responsibilities as American citizens.
The Oath Ceremony usually takes place several months after an individual has been approved for naturalization, and is conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers or representatives from other federal agencies.
- At this ceremony, applicants must demonstrate their knowledge of English by reciting the oath in its entirety and signing it before witnesses.
- Furthermore, to take the oath, applicants will also be asked to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or recite a portion of it in English at the end of the ceremony.
- After taking this oath, individuals become officially American citizens with all the associated rights and responsibilities that come with it.
Who Attends the US Citizenship Oath Ceremony?
The US Citizenship Oath Ceremony is a special occasion and not just for those taking the oath.
- This ceremony, usually held in a public courthouse or other government building, is attended by the person taking the citizenship oath, as well as their family and friends. It is also attended by other members of the general public, who are welcome to observe this important event. Immigration officials are present to assist with the proceedings and ensure that all applicable protocols are met.
- During the ceremony, all attendees are required to remain quiet as a courtesy to others in attendance as well as out of respect for the solemnity of this momentous occasion.
- The Process of the Ceremony– When the time for the oath arrives, all those who have passed become official US citizens at that moment. The exact process of the ceremony will vary from place to place, although there are certain steps that every ceremony should include.
- Taking the Oath- At the start of the ceremony, all newly naturalized citizens stand and take an oath of allegiance to their new country. This may require them to swear on a bible or to simply state their intention before a judge or other official.
- Pledge of Allegiance- At this point, those naturalized must recite the Pledge of Allegiance and acknowledge that they take on allegiance and responsibility for being an American citizen.
- Signing Documents and Receiving Certificate- Each person will sign documents officially recognizing them as U.S. citizens. In some cases, this is done in front of a judge or other official and may require an additional swearing-in ceremony before they can receive their citizenship certificate. Finally, they will be handed their certificate in a presentation ceremony that recognizes and celebrates their transition into their new country.
What is included in the US Citizenship Oath?
The Oath of Allegiance is a key part of the US Citizenship Oath ceremony and must be taken by every immigrant who wishes to become a US citizen. It is an oath of commitment to the United States of America that outlines a series of rights and responsibilities that come with American citizenship. In addition to affirming loyalty and fidelity to the US, it includes a pledge to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States, as well as a requirement for immigrants to renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty.
The full oath reads:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
What Happens During a US Citizenship Oath Ceremony?
The US Citizenship Oath Ceremony marks the official admission of a new citizen into the United States of America. This ceremony is the final step in the naturalization process and consists of several activities.
- Taking the Oath of Allegiance- The first part of the ceremony is for applicants to recite an Oath of Allegiance. This pledge indicates that they accept all duties and privileges associated with US citizenship and promise to abide by all US laws, both state and federal. The oath includes such phrases as: “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”.
- Signature on Naturalization Certificate- After taking the oath, applicants sign their name in ink on their respective Naturalization Certificate as a recognition of their commitment to upholding US citizenship. This certificate will eventually be issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Pledge of Allegiance- Applicants stand in unison with fellow citizens-to-be to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag at this time before officially becoming a US citizen. This powerful moment marks both a legally binding promise between citizen and country as well as a symbol of pride for having joined one’s peers in pledging allegiance to America’s flag for generations.
Documents Required for a US Citizenship Oath Ceremony
If you’ve been approved for US citizenship, then you’ll need to attend the Oath Ceremony to become an official citizen. The Oath Ceremony is a special event that is done in front of family and friends, witnesses, and court officials. To attend the Oath Ceremony, you’ll need to bring certain documents with you:
- You must have your Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).
- You must have your Appointment letter (Form N-445).
- If applicable, you’ll also need any other immigration documents that were given to you.
- If you do not bring these documents with you on the day of your Oath Ceremony, then the court officials may not be able to proceed. It’s important to carefully check all documents before the day of your oath ceremony and make sure that everything is in order.
Rules and Regulations for a US Citizenship Oath Ceremony
The US Citizenship Oath Ceremony is a solemn and meaningful event, presided over by a judge or officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During this ceremony, you will be required to swear allegiance to the United States and its Constitution. It is important to understand the rules and regulations for the US Citizenship Oath Ceremony before attending:
- You must arrive early, as late arrival is not allowed.
- You must bring all required documents to the ceremony with you, such as your passport, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), and any other documents that are necessary for your application.
- You will be asked to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, pledging loyalty to the country and its principles.
- You must answer questions from a DHS or INS officer about your citizenship application.
- You will be asked to sign an affidavit swearing that all information provided in your application is true and accurate.
- After taking the oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization – this signifies that you are now a US citizen.
The US Citizenship Oath Ceremony marks the end of the long journey of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States and emphasizes the gravity and responsibilities required of new citizens. Through its regimented format, the ceremony commemorates the profound sense of belonging and loyalty to the nation that citizens pledge upon the completion of their applications. As the US Citizenship Oath Ceremony serves as the culmination of these rigorous naturalization procedures, it is important that all those who pass to gain US Citizenship understand its importance and what to expect.